PhD Scholarship in Experimental Studies of Polymer Brush Layers

DTU Chemistry
Monday 29 May 17

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Apply no later than 23 June 2017
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A 3-year PhD scholarship in experimental studies of polymer and polyelectrolyte brush layers is available at the Department of Chemistry. The project will be under supervision of Associate Professor Esben Thormann and is starting as soon as possible.

The PhD project will focus on how the chemical structure of the monomer, the temperature and different types of counter ions can be used to tune the inter-chain interactions, and thus the functional properties of grafted polymer and polyelectrolyte brush layers bordering an aqueous solution. The project will thus contain a part focusing on synthesis of the brush layers and another part focusing on the physicochemical characterization of the brush layers.  

A special focus will be on a new class of polyelectrolytes termed poly(ionic liquid)s. Poly(ionic liquid)s are polyelectrolytes which feature an ionic liquid cation or anion in the repeating monomeric units. One unique property of these polymers is their apparent relative hydrophobic character despite their high charge density, which suggests that their structure and functionality are sensitive to both physical stimuli and the chemical environment. Together with the fact that these polymers contain bulky side group, the structural and mechanical properties of dense layers of poly(ionic liquid)s will thus be controlled by both hydrophobic inter-chain attraction and steric inter-chain repulsion, in addition to electrostatic and osmotic pressure effects which are dominating for conventional polyelectrolytes.  

The successful candidate should have a Master degree in physical chemistry, polymer chemistry, soft matter or equivalent. Candidates who have experience with grafting-from approaches such as SI-ATRP and/or characterization techniques like AFM, QCM-D and ellipsometry will be preferred. The candidate should further be highly motivated, able to work independently and should be confident in both written and spoken English. The applicant should strive towards scientific excellence, be ambitious and hard working. Only applicants with great talent, who seeks to be among the brightest in their field, will be considered.   

We offer
We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, scientific advice and innovation, which contribute to enhancing the economy and improving social welfare. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect and freedom tempered by responsibility. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is a leading technical university in northern Europe and benchmarks with the best universities in the world.    

Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are following the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment for PhD student is 3 years.

Further information
Further questions about the projects should be directed to Esben Thormann, phone: (+45) 45252439, email:

Please submit your online application no later than 23 June 2017. Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online," fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file. The file must include: 

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,600 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.